15 Oct 2016

John Barnes raves: 'Fantastic' Spurs hero is the 'best English player ever'. Agree?

Who is the best English player of the modern era? Players like Gerrard, Lampard, Shearer, Beckham, and Scholes will always be in the running, but according to Liverpool legend John Barnes, one player trumps them all.

Speaking to The Mirror this week, Barnes slated the England team's ongoing penchant for prioritising huff-and-puff effort over technique and skill, and provided a pointed example of this from the past:

"Glenn Hoddle, for me, is technically the best English player ever. I was in the [England] squad with him and he wasn’t playing all the time as there were people like Bryan Robson".

Of course England ignored Hoddle much of the time - he played the beautiful game with grace, skill, and intelligence (i.e. the right way), and didn't engage in pointless headless chickenry and/or endlessly spend most of his time launching blood-and-thunder tackles.

Players like Bryan Robson, and Jordan Henderson will always get the nod over more technical/skillful players for one simple reason: English football is still living in the dark ages, and still prioritises stamina, running, and strength over technique, skill, and game intelligence.

This approach is ingrained in the nation's football psyche, and pervades every level of the game, from grassroots, right up to the Premier League. There's no quick fix, and in my view, it will take a scorched earth change, plus 20+ years of implementing a new philosophy (at all levels) for England to turn things around.

Germany did it, so why can't England follow suit? (Not that I want that - I'm more than happy to watch the England national team wallowing in technically bereft mediocrity!)

^ Jul 2016: Barnes hailed Hoddle as a potentially 'fantastic manager' for England.


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